A Time to be Grateful 

By: Christina Whalen, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Published: November 15, 2022
Thankful written on notecard next to miniature white pumpkin

The holidays are a wonderful time for sharing time and memories with our loved ones, but they can also be difficult in some ways. While it is traditional to show gratitude at Thanksgiving, it may have more advantages than you think!  

The first Thanksgiving was a celebration that developed out of rough times when pilgrims were struggling to survive. It became a national holiday during the Civil War and rested on its current date, the last Thursday of each year, right after the Depression. Tough times can actually deepen our gratitude and help us to appreciate what we still have. Gratitude can help us to minimize negative thoughts and feelings and to not only want to help others, but also to be more willing to seek help when we need it. It also helps to remediate the symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and burnout. Positive re-framing can turn a bad situation into a more tolerable situation, and perhaps a good learning moment. 

Gratitude helps us to find the energy to work through challenging days and is powerful for building resilience, coping skills, and hope. There are many social, emotional, mental health, and physical health benefits that come from expressing gratitude. Gratitude improves our mood and makes us feel better. People who have more gratitude tend to be more satisfied with their jobs and their lives. They also tend to have better physical health, sleep better, are less tired, and tend to rely less on materialistic things. 

Work can be daunting, stressful, and even unpleasant sometimes. But people who appreciate things at work tend to endure better, and to even enjoy their jobs. There are many ways that you can express gratitude at work including: 

  • Show appreciation to someone that you work with by sending a text, e-mail, social media shout-out, or phone call. Be specific and tell them why you appreciate them and give an example. 
  • Instead of getting angry or frustrated when someone has a different opinion from you at work, try to see their point of view. Perspective-taking can help us see the bigger picture and learn to not take things personally. 
  • Thank people – and often. Not in a group reply e-mail, but really thank them. Send a personal message or thank them in front of a group during a meeting. 
  • Don’t just thank the obvious people – remember it takes a village to have a positive and productive work environment. Remember ALL the players on your team and take the time to thank them. 
  • Treat your team when you can. If you work in person, you can bring in coffee or bagels or cookies. If you work remotely, you can share a funny or heart-warming meme with your team. 


Close up of hand writing I Am Thankful For Today list

At RethinkEd, we believe that gratitude is important, and we try to practice it year-round. Below are some things that our team is grateful for this year: 

“I am thankful to work at a company that impacts teachers’ and students’ lives in a positive way – a company that cares for the whole child and community.”  
– Susan Parrino, Vice President – Customer Service 

Work with purpose enriches not only our own lives but the lives of others. I’m thankful to have found an organization dedicated to the empowerment of our children and giving them the tools to succeed. Being a part of that experience is truly an honor and working alongside like-minded individuals who share a similar passion for education is both inspiring and invigorating.”  
– Michael LaRiccia, Graphic Designer 

“I am thankful for my family, and for being part of an organization that supports a work-life balance. I am thankful to be part of a company that strives to improve the lives of all its stakeholders, from students to employees and everyone in between. I am especially thankful for the passionate and professional group I work with every day!”  
– Jessica McCard, Content Manager 

“I am grateful to work with a team of caring, smart, supportive professionals – my Rethink family.”  
– Jennifer Fisher, Vice President- Sales West 

“I am thankful for each and every day that I wake up and can live life. I am very thankful for our teams! Our efforts are reflected in our work. Thankful teams mean thankful customers!”  
– Devon Paz, Marketing Manager 

“I am grateful to work for a company that promotes a healthy work life balance. RethinkEd is a company that practices what it preaches. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this incredible team every day.”  
– Erin Moran, Director Educational Partnership – Los Angeles  

“I am blessed to have such a dedicated and passionate team that is making an impact across all our schools to support the whole child and finding new and creative ways to support our educators. I am grateful for all the educators we work with that are making a difference in children’s and teens’ lives every day.”  
– Diana Frezza, Executive Vice President  

“I am so blessed in family and family (friends and colleagues). I am grateful to work collaboratively with so many inspirational educators and professional leaders in providing opportunities for all. I am so very thankful to have an incredibly dedicated, hardworking, passionate and compassionate team who truly help make the magic happen in all we do for our partners in education.”  
– Lauren Stafford, Director of Content & Curriculum 

“I’m grateful for the health of my family and friends over these past couple years. I’m also thankful to be a part of such a wonderfully supportive company and team!”  
– Jon Aker, Professional Services Manager – NYC 

“I am thankful for a work culture of positivity and collaboration. I am thankful to be working for a company whose products are for the betterment of districts, teachers, and children and whose vision aligns with my own – the betterment of education and the whole child.”  
– Kat Collins, Director Educational Partnership – Texas 

May you be grateful for all that you have this year; and may you have a restful break and enjoy your friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving! 

About the Author

Christina Whalen, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Director of Research at RethinkFirst

Director of Research, psychologist and behavior analyst for RethinkEd

Dr. Christina Whalen, Director of Research, is a psychologist and behavior analyst and lives in La Jolla, CA. At RethinkEd, she is the primary author of Tier 3 curriculum for Social Emotional Learning and assists with the development of professional development videos for educators. She has over 20 years of experience working with children, teens, and adults with special needs. She is the author of the book Real Life, Real Progress for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Strategies for Successful Generalization in Natural Environments and has presented at numerous education, behavior analysis, and psychology conferences.

Dr. Whalen was the initial founder and creator of TeachTown, a computer-assisted behavior analysis is intervention for children with developmental disorders. She also worked for various clinics, schools, and research programs. She received her PhD from University of California, San Diego and did postdoctoral training at UCLA and University of Washington.

Share with your community


Sign up for our Newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter on the latest industry updates, Rethink happenings, and resources galore.

Related Resources


Behavioral challenges in the classroom are on the rise in terms of frequency and severity,...


There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t land upon another news story...


National Parental Involvement Day is November 17th. This day provides a yearly opportunity for schools...